Alison Langevad

Camera: Canon EOS R5

Lens: EF400mm f/2.8L II USM

Aperture: f/4.5

Shutter speed: 1/800

ISO: 500

Description: Luluka, a beautiful pregnant leopard, passes the time by watching the hot air balloons as they skim the vehicles below.

Story from behind the lens: We had been fortunate enough to sit quietly with a very pregnant Luluka one evening, near where the hot air balloons are located in the Maasai Mara. She had a fresh kill in the tree, and judging by the massive belly and evident discomfort, Luluka was very close to giving birth. We wondered if this kill was to assist her with energy for the birth, or afterwards to sustain her in the following days. We left her to cool off in the light evening drizzle as the sun set.

Andrew Kiio skillfully took us back early the next morning to where we had last seen her. She had eaten nearly a full kill before we arrived. We found Luluka lying comfortably on a mound, passing the time by watching the hot air balloons as they drifted over the vehicles. Her fascination was evident even though she must of seen this so many times before. It was soon after we were told she had given birth. I am grateful to our driver who allowed us the opportunity to share precious moments with her just before giving birth to the next generation.